Securing a visa allows someone to lawfully enter the United States and to live, study or work here. However, visas are generally only valid for a few years. Individuals will need to renew their visas if they hope to continue living in the United States. There are typically only a finite number of renewals available for any given visa program, which means immigrants either need to become permanent residents or prepare to leave the country eventually.
Getting a green card allows someone to stay in the country indefinitely and drastically reduces the frequency with which they will need to submit paperwork to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The process requires paperwork
Any immigration changes will typically involve filing special paperwork with the USCIS. Those applying to get a green card while already living in the United States will typically need to fill out an immigration petition and a green card application. However, the immigration petition usually doesn’t come directly from the immigrant. Instead, an employer or family member will submit that petition on behalf of the prospective permanent resident. There are also special programs for those who experience criminal activity while living in the United States or who lose their spouse after marrying a United States citizen.
After submitting the necessary paperwork, the person applying will have to undergo a background check conducted by the USCIS. If they qualify and receive a green card, they will then only need to reapply to remain in the country every 10 years following their approval. The one exception is when the green card is conditional on someone’s marriage. In such cases, it will be a temporary green card with restrictions imposed until someone remains married for at least two years and then applies to have the conditions removed from their visa.
Obtaining a green card enhances someone’s protection while living in the United States and reduces the likelihood that they could face removal in the future. It may also expand their options for helping loved ones enter the country as well. Learning more about the requirements for different immigration procedures may benefit those who hope to remain in the United States permanently after entering the country legally.